Terra Motors, a Japanese start-up company, has dipped its toe into the electric vehicle market with the launch of an electric tuk-tuk. While some people may well snigger at the launch of such a vehicle, a tricycle, the fact is that there are literally hundreds of thousands of these around the world and if the company is able to make even the smallest dent in these figures then there is potentially a significant income stream on the way. The company has already announced an order from the Philippines which will see the current crop of 100,000 gas powered tuk-tuks replaced by electric counterparts by 2016. The vehicles themselves are able to travel 31 miles on a two-hour charge and at just US$6,000, they offer exceptional value for money in the long term- even if they are more expensive than gas powered tuk-tuks.
Assisting the environment
Helping the environment has always been one of the mainstays of the electric vehicle market and this particular vehicle also has the potential to save five dollars per day in fuel costs. If you imagine the fleet of 100,000 tuk-tuks and the potential reduction in emissions when converting to electric, as opposed to gas powered vehicles by 2016, there is potentially a large benefit to the environment.
While many may see this as the opposite end to luxury electric cars such as the Tesla there is no doubt that entry-level electric vehicles such as the electric tuk-tuk will open the eyes of many people to the potential of this new environmentally friendly mode of transport.
Investment in Terra Motors
If you take a look at the shareholder list of Terra Motors it reads like a Who's Who from the world of technology with former top execs from Apple, Google, Sony and Compaq all heavily involved in the company. It will be interesting to see how this particular project develops because an entry level vehicle such as the electric tuk-tuk is all good and well, but if the company is able to build up a reputation at the lower end of the market, the only way is up?
There are literally millions of tuk-tuks around the world and the vast majority of these are still gas powered which has implications for the environment. It seems highly likely that governments around the world will become more actively involved in replacing vehicles which release potentially harmful emissions therefore the company may well receive further financial assistance in due course.
Slowly, slowly for the electric vehicle market
If we take a step back and look at the market overall, we have the electric tuk-tuk at the bottom end of the market and we have the Tesla electric sports cars at the top end of the market. Slowly but surely we are seeing the vacuum in between filled by the likes of Nissan, BMW, etc which will ultimately catch the attention of motorists, increase sales and see the popularity of electric vehicles continue to grow.
The development of the electric vehicle market has been painfully slow of late, there have been setbacks with a number of recalls but the fact is the industry is still moving forward, albeit at a slower pace than many had hoped and expected.